Feast of Saint Philomena
The month of August is dedicated to celebrations and festivities in honor of St. Philomena:
10 -Translation of the Sacred Relics from Rome to Mugnano del Cardinale.
11 -Liturgical feast of St. Philomena throughout the world.
Second Sunday - Morning procession of the Baptists; afternoon procession of the Miraculous Statue through the village, ending with solemn Mass.
13 - Celebration of the name of Philomena in Italy. Known as "onomastic."
Last Sunday - Consecration of children to St. Philomena, throughout the day.
The festivities begin with Eucharistic celebrations as early as the first week of August with the solemn preparation and enthronement of the miraculous statue of St. Philomena, donated to the shrine in 1806 by Cardinal Luigi Ruffo Scilla.
The most significant and most important date for the Philomena community, both locally and internationally, is Aug. 10, the day commemorating the translation of St. Philomena's body from the catacombs of Priscilla in Rome to Mugnano del Cardinale in 1805.
On the second Sunday of August, two major religious events characterize the festivities in honor of St. Philomena: "THE BEATERS OF SAINT PHILOMENA " and the procession of the "Miraculous Statue."
The beaters of Saint Philomena represents one of the most important events in Mugnano del Cardinale; dating back to 1934, the protagonists are the town's faithful, who undertake a long journey of devotion to the saint on the second Sunday in August. The name of the event derives from the practice, carried out by the faithful, of continually tapping their feet in rhythm while wearing, following tradition, white shirts and pants, which represent the saint's purity; the bare feet and a red sash symbolize, on the other hand, the saint's martyrdom. The faithful who undertake this journey are many and have as their starting point Cimitile, which is the site of early Christian basilicas symbolizing martyrdom, and then reach the shrine in Mugnano dedicated to the Saint, bringing offerings such as bouquets of flowers, candles and "toselli" or symbolic constructions of different sizes and shapes, decorated with ribbons, paper, and shells. Some carry the large statue of the Saint.
All groups of worshippers are led by a leader, "O Cap Vattient," who plays his trumpet and leads the ranks, pronouncing at the start, "A'NNOM E SANTA FILOMENA.... LIVE O'MUORT.... TUTTI A MUGNANO," as if to give a start to what will be their long journey.
In Mugnano there are typically three teams of beaters: the first team is the largest one, which before reaching the shrine joins the "Barca" (a papier-mâché representation of the Saint that varies each year), which is carried on the shoulders of some of the faithful who differ from the others because they wear a blue sash. Upon reaching the shrine, the group kneels for a few minutes to show devotion to the Saint, then continues on their knees to the martyr's urn where candles and flowers are placed. The grand event concludes with the arrival of the other two teams and the celebration of Holy Mass. This rite in honor of the Saint has a very important identity value for the people of Mugnano del Cardinale, in fact for this event there are many fireworks shot off and many Mugnano emigrants who return to the town for the big event.
In the afternoon, the Miraculous Statue of Saint Philomena is carried in procession through the festively decorated streets of Mugnano del Cardinale. At the end is the solemn Mass celebrated by the Rector of the Shrine.